Willpower is a limited resource.
Unfortunately, temptation is inevitable. The more we strive to eliminate temptation from our lives, the more desirable those temptations become. For example: eliminate sugar and dairy from your diet and you’ll dwell on a the wonders of vanilla bean ice cream all day.
You’ll have a keen awareness of the apple tart your wife decided to buy at the local bakers all the more when you’re dieting (Thanks, Nicole :))
Willpower is the ability to say no to the apple tart when your mind says you need it.
The more we dwell on eating the apple tart, the more likely we are to cave.
An interesting study was performed on will power. Two groups were given 5 minutes to think out loud. One group was told to suppress thoughts about chocolate and another was allowed to think freely.
Then, the researchers offered both groups chocolate. Like a 6-year-old who is told no, the chocolate suppressors ate twice as much.
It’s the same with dieting; the more we resist a certain food or food-group, the more appetizing it becomes.
So how can we shift this mindset and get the results we want?
You’ve probably heard how Mark Zuckerberg wears the same thing every day. He does this in an effort to eliminate choices. He understand we have a finite amount of choosing ability.
The more we tap into our ability to choose, the less likely we are to choose well. A very cool study was done on Israeli judges. The aimed to assess which factors impacted the judges decisions in a hearing. They hypothesized things like race, severity of the crime, and personal biases would be influential.
Shockingly, none of the above mattered. The main factors that influenced the judge’s decision was the time of day. Yup, that’s right, a criminal is more likely to have a favorable outcome based on the time of their hearing.
The judges gave drastically more favorable hearings early in the morning and following each of their food-breaks. The more decisions the judges had to make, the less likely they were to think rational.
You’re the same. The more choices you have to make during the day, the more likely you are to eat half the bag of kettle cooked BBQ chips when you come home from work.
You’ve got to eliminate choices. Always have a plan for what you will eat during the week and day. If you know your mid-afternoon snack is going to be 2 cups of popcorn, you won’t have to think twice about heading to the vending machine for a bag of chips.
If you already have dinner planned out and the ingredients purchased, you’ll be much less likely to grab In and Out on your way home.
If you have a workout plan scripted exercise by exercise, you won’t just do a few sets of biceps curls and call it quits.
Also, don’t waste your energy making unnecessary choices throughout the day. Don’t price-shop for the cheapest shampoo. Pick out your clothes the night before.
Add, Don’t Subtract
The way Nicole and I have the 30-Day Fat-Loss Challenge set up is additive. We give tons of new recipes and workouts to try. Yes, you aren’t supposed to veer off the plan, but we haven’t demonized any specific food groups.
When you diabolize a food-group, gluten for example, it creates the mind-occupying thought process which leads to overeating.
Focus instead on adding to your diet. Add in protein or vegetables with every meal. Find new and unique ways to cook the foods you are adding in. Download our free recipe e-book for some great ideas.
First Things First
Your willpower is strongest early in the day. This is why doing your most important task for the day early in the morning is essential.
If you’re looking to get stronger, you should be hitting the gym in the morning before work.
Want to lose weight? Make planning out your food for the day in detail the first task you conquer each morning.
Looking to get new inspiration or motivation? Make reading a self-help book or watching inspirational videos the first thing you do each morning.
Willpower is limited. Start early. Start small. Add instead of subtracting. Find ways to eliminate choices. Go crush it!